Top 10 reasons Curacao is the hottest destination in the Caribbean
Earlier this month I was extended the offer by the Curacao tourism board to visit this island that remains one of the best kept secrets as a tourist destination for travelers, and I couldn’t resist! What I experienced exceeded my expectations and put it at the top of my “must see” list for my Distinguished Travelers desiring a unique, authentic experience in a tropical setting. It’s a little bit Europe and a lot perfect tropical beauty all wrapped into one that made this girl who loves both unexpectedly ecstatic. What does this have to do with the weirdest thing I ever ate? Well, I ate it here! Read on to find out the top 10 reasons Curacao is the next destination hotspot you should consider when planning your next getaway.
1. The Weather
Yes, it’s in the Caribbean and wonderfully warm, but with the last hurricane season that wreaked havoc on so many traveler’s vacation plans, some are a little antsy about booking a Caribbean getaway. Curacao sits at the most Southern end of the Hurricane Belt and is one of the few islands that is considered a very low risk for impact from tropical storms and hurricanes. Very low humidity in Curacao makes for a remarkably comfortable tropical escape. Plan your vacation now and don’t stress about the weather!
2. The People
I found the people in Curacao to be some of the most loving and welcoming of any Caribbean island. Being a former Dutch colony, there is a wonderful mix of cultures and languages represented on the island that prides itself in its diversity and acceptance of all nationalities and religions. Most of the locals speak a minimum of 4 languages: English, Dutch, Spanish, and the native tongue called Papiamentu. No need to fear a language barrier here!
3. The Food
For those of you that know me, you know how much I love experiencing new cultures through their cuisine. With the convergence of cultures, I can assure you there is something for EVERYONE. From the freshest seafood to the local dishes, I was never disappointed. Michelin Star foodie are you? Yeah, I have a place for that. Wanna go a little more adventurous? Yeah, me too. Want to dine around town? I have the perfect recommendations thanks to a progressive style dinner with courses at some of the best restaurants around. You can even have a wonderful local meal in a former plantation house turned family run restaurant.
4. Honeymoon Hot Spot
For those of you looking for a romantic getaway, look no further. There are wonderful resorts and hotels that are the perfect backdrop for you to relax, get away, and feel pampered with the one you love. You can get a couple’s massage on the beach, enjoy a sunset yacht cruise, visit one of the world class spas, and have a destination wedding or vow renewal in one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean.
5. Family Friendly
Don’t think this island only has something to offer couples! There are a wide variety of activities and excursions for those traveling with young ones and those that are just young at heart. You can participate in a dolphin encounter, go on an off-road buggy safari, snorkel, helmet dive, and visit the Seaquarium. Accommodations vary based on your price range and preference. You have resorts with up to 3-bedroom apartments with full kitchens right on the beach. Or, even an all-inclusive option, complete with on-site Kid’s Club for those wanting a little more alone time away from the children.
6. Golfer’s Paradise
Bet you didn’t know that Golfweek found one of the best golf courses in the Caribbean and Mexico in Curacao. Here you can play the Pete Dye designed Old Quarry Golf course, which opened in 2010. Naturally complementing Curacao’s beautiful hills and valleys, this course will challenge golfers of varying skill levels.
7. Scuba Central
Unlike its nearby neighbor, Aruba, Curacao is made up of mostly coral which rises out of the ocean waters. It’s surrounded by deep water very near the shore and offers some of best dive sites in the Caribbean. It is a very popular destination for divers, and the sights are accessible to snorkelers right offshore.
8. Old World Architecture
Remember, I said it’s a little bit Europe and a lot perfect tropical beauty? Well, it truly is. In downtown Willemstad you feel as though you are meandering through the streets in Europe. Because of its Dutch roots, the buildings reflect the European influence in its architecture. The colorful waterfront and its famous floating bridge set this island apart.
9. Picture Perfect Scenery
As an island made up mostly of coral, the cliffs on one coast make up some of the most amazing views as the waves crash and pummel the shoreline. You can hike up to view breathtaking scenery from a hilltop. On the Southwest coast you will find what I like to call the REAL blue Curacao. With water so blue that it looks almost fake, and so clear that you can see down to the depths, it is hard to beat the experience of basking in these gorgeous waters.
10. Easy to get to and get around in
There are many nonstop flights between Curacao and the continental US from certain departure points making your travel experience an easy one. Once there, if you prefer to go exploring on your own, you can easily rent a car. They drive on the same side of the road as we do here on the US and it is not difficult to maneuver through traffic as it is in other destinations.
What does this have to do with one of the weirdest foods I ever ate? I ate it here! As most of you know, I love food and am always up for trying something new and different. On this trip I branched out and ate iguana. Yes, you read that right, iguana. Well, iguana soup, to be precise. It is served in a savory broth that resembles chicken soup. If you can get over the appearance of the skin (which is somewhat rubbery), it is not bad. It tastes just like chicken! Except for the fact that it is very bony. But don't worry if you aren't as adventurous as I am. There are plenty of wonderful foods for those with milder palates.
So, have I piqued your interest and desire to visit this off the beaten path island destination? I hope so! With so much to see and do I know you will not be disappointed. Contact me to help you plan your next prefect getaway! Because life is short.
Stop dreaming. Start going.
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You may not be a travel pro, but even travel pros make mistakes. Take a few minutes to learn from mine and save yourself the hassle (and a few bucks)!
Well, I’m off on another trip this week and as I prepare, I thought I ‘d share a few little nuggets of wisdom with my Distinguished Travelers because it’s my job to help you travel like a pro and have a seamless vacation experience. One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is, “How should I go about exchanging my dollars for the local currency?” Stay tuned for a funny story from last fall, and learn from my mistake!
Before You Go
Before you even leave the country, go through this simple check list to ensure you will have access to funds while away.
Now, GET YOUR CASH!
You have options when it comes to obtaining local currency, and I will outline them below so that you can determine which strategy best suits your needs.
I promised you a funny story that will help you learn from my mistakes. Last fall while traveling to Budapest, I charged my husband with taking care of the ATM withdrawal as soon as we landed in Budapest. We had a driver waiting for us at baggage claim to drop us at the hotel and we didn’t want to keep him waiting. So, off he went to procure the local Hungarian Forint (because even though they’re technically in the EU they still prefer Forint to Euros). Not being familiar with the exchange rate, he took out what he guesstimated was a sufficient amount. Well, he actually withdrew the equivalent of about $650! And, we were to be in Hungary for one night (less than 24 hours) before boarding out Christmas Markets river cruise that would take us through Austria and Germany where the Euro is the currency. Our hotel and gourmet dinner were both prepaid, and even I was hard pressed to spend that much cash in one evening and a morning (jet lag caused some sleeping in so I wasn’t at the top of my shopping game). We faced a dilemma – exchange our “HUFs” for Euros, and lose quite a bit on the exchange rate and fees, or discover some lovely Hungarian wines to take along on the ship. Anyone who knows us can guess which option we chose. It turns out Hungary has some delightful wine, which is produced in small enough quantities that you’ll rarely find them in the states. Silver lining! Still, you get the moral of the story – know the exchange rates before you go. Pick a baseline amount, say $100, and know the local equivalent you should expect along your journey.
So, where are you off to next? Can I help you get there? Call or email me and let’s get planning your next great escape. Because life is short.
Stop dreaming. Start going.